Sugar Land comes together in wake of violence

Monday, July 18, 2016
Sugar Land comes together in wake of violence
Sugar Land residents and community leaders came together Sunday to rally for unity and diversity.

SUGAR LAND (KTRK) -- Organizers of a rally for peace and unity in Sugar Land say they wanted to make a difference in this divided world in light of the shooting deaths of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

"The way to do it, we thought, was to send a message throughout the world that Sugar Land, which is one of the most diverse cities in the country, would not tolerate that kind of hatred, especially to those who put their lives on the line on a daily basis," Mayor Pro Tem Amy Mitchell said.

There was a moment of silence for the officers, prayers from religious leaders of different faiths and a salute to the men and women in blue.

"Over this past week, we've had an overwhelming amount of support from our community," Captain Michelle Allen of the Sugar Land Police Department said. "It really means a lot to us. It helps us to put this uniform on every day and come back into work knowing we have this level of support from our community."

The message is that this community stands together against the very things that have divided much of America.

"It's the right message and it should be put out there. Because we're all one nation basically that is the theme that people need to be resonating," Kayode Jimoh said.

And they hope the message of unity here spreads around the country.

This is a video challenge of sorts. The video of their declaration of unity and respect will be posted on social media.

Organizers are hoping other cities will take the challenge and declare that hate has no place --- from or towards anyone.

The violence in Louisiana comes amidst heightened tensions between law enforcement officers and minority communities in Louisiana and around the country.

On July 5, police officers in Baton Rouge shot and killed 37-year-old Alton Sterling, who was selling CDs in front of a convenience store. Several bystanders recorded the altercation on their cell phones, and videos of the Sterling's death were widely circulated on social media.

VIDEO: Demonstrators take to the streets in Baton Rouge

Protesters hit the streets after fatal police shooting in Baton Rouge, Tracy Clemons reports.

The next day, a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop. According to eyewitness accounts, Castile declared to officers that he was carrying a licensed firearm; he was shot as he reached for his driver's license.

Castile's girlfriend broadcasted the immediate, graphic aftermath of the shooting on Facebook Live from the passenger's seat of the vehicle.

VIDEO: Philando Castile's girlfriend speaks out

Diamond Reynolds and her attorney Larry Rogers discusses the Philando Castile shooting

Then, on July 7th, a gunman with ties to black supremacist groups shot and killed five law enforcement officers and injured 9 others during an otherwise peaceful demonstration in downtown Dallas.

VIDEO: Suspect identified in Dallas ambush

Five officers are dead and seven others were hurt in a shooting last evening in Dallas. Courtney Fischer reports

The incident marked the deadliest day for law enforcement since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

In the weeks that followed, demonstrators in Houston and across the country have taken to the streets to call for peace and an end to violence against all.

VIDEO: Hundreds gather in downtown Houston for peaceful demonstration

Demonstrators marched through downtown Houston on Sunday afternoon and called for an end to violence against all people.

Congressman Al Green organized Courageous Conversation, a town hall event where community members engaged in a dialogue with law enforcement and elected officials about the intersection of race and policing.

LSU President F. King Alexander sent the following memo to students following Sunday morning shooting

Dear Students,

This morning, regrettably, our city lost several officers of the Baton Rouge Police Department and East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office in the line of duty. Several other officers were injured. Our thoughts are with those officers and their families, as well as their fellow officers who are responding to this tragedy.

Although the shootings occurred some distance from campus, LSU is taking precautionary measures to ensure the continued safety of our LSU campus community. Our Emergency Operations Center has been activated to assist the LSU Police, who have been called upon to support local law enforcement. The LSU Police are also taking steps to increase security around the campus.

We are all committed to a safe environment and will continue to do all that we can to keep the campus safe. We encourage you to remain vigilant and report suspicious activities to the LSU Police at 225-578-3231.

F. King Alexander

LSU President